5 Challenges For Churches In Bad Weather

Uncategorized Jan 27, 2022

It is winter, and that can bring some crazy weather. The older I get, the less I enjoy cold weather. But cold weather does not typically present significant challenges to most churches and businesses. But with the cold weather can come ice and snow, which create challenges. 

As a pastor, there are times when I have to consider the weather concerning church gatherings. Occasionally the weather can cause churches to consider cancellations, delays, or rescheduling. The last couple of weekends have brought bad weather to my area, and more is on the horizon.

I rarely want to cancel a service, but many things go into that decision. One of the most significant factors is timing. We can deal with snow or ice on Thursday or Friday better than the same weather on Saturday. A forecast that gives us time to prepare before a storm makes continuing with a service or event more manageable. 

For my 5 Thursday Thoughts, I want to share with you some things that most churches consider when there is bad weather.


Churches should always be concerned about the safety of those coming into their building. Proper consideration requires regular maintenance and upkeep of the facilities and parking lot. Weather takes some things out of our control. When there is ice or snow, you have to determine how dangerous it is to drive to the church. If the major roads are clear, what are the parking lot's condition and sidewalks? Usually, people are already getting out in the snow for fun, so opening the church for services is not out of the ordinary. Finding volunteers can be a challenge because you do not want to require people to be there. Safety has to be a consideration in lousy weather.


One of the reasons most churches consider is financial. Many churches would not acknowledge that, but it is a factor. Covid has changed some of those dynamics. It forced many churches to go to online giving. The addition of an online giving option has alleviated some of the financial pressure when churches do not gather. But even with these new tools, thousands of churches closed permanently during Covid due to reduced giving. Statistics say that most people who give in person do not make up for Sundays they miss. Though church leaders rarely discuss it publicly, finances play a role in whether a church will cancel a service.

Rescheduling Challenges

We recently had to consider an event we may have to reschedule because of the weather. We have a problem that events are scheduled every weekend for the following six weeks. This means we would have to delay the event for almost two months. This is a real challenge. "Doing it later" is not always easy.

Preparation Costs

There are preparation costs for special events. If it involves a meal, there are food costs if there is spoilage. There may be labor costs or other investments made for an event to happen. Let's add the costs of preparing a parking lot for bad weather. Events are not free. There can be losses when an event is canceled or changed.

Loss of Momentum

Momentum is important. If you have it, then it makes everything better and easier. If you do not have it, things can be more difficult than they should. Momentum is your friend. Lack of momentum can be your enemy. This is true from sports to politics to churches. Gaps between services make it difficult to create consistency and sustain momentum.

This is not an exhaustive list. We discuss some of these things publicly, and some don't get mentioned. Leaders rarely take these decisions lightly. Maybe this list will help you understand a little more about the process. 


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